A transesophageal echocardiogram test is done when it is difficult to get adequate pictures of your heart, using ultrasound, from the chest wall or when there is one specific area of the heart being investigated that cannot be well seen by using ultrasound through the chest wall. Your understanding of the treatments and tests you receive is very important to everyone at Community Howard Regional Health System. Therefore, this information is to acquaint you with the standard procedures followed in a routine transesophageal echocardiogram. Read the material, share it with your family and ask any clarifying questions of the nurse or technician. If you are well informed and comfortable, we can work together for a better test.
You should have nothing to eat or drink for a minimum of six hours prior to test time. Your morning medications may be taken with a sip of water.
You will need to wear a hospital gown. You will lie in bed with your head elevated and electrodes will be placed on your chest. An ECG cable will be attached to these placed on your chest so that your heart rhythm can be monitored throughout the test. An IV will be started in one of your arms. The IV is used to give medications throughout the procedure. The back of your throat may be sprayed with a medicine that will make your mouth and throat numb. You may also be asked to swallow a clear thick fluid, which will help numb your mouth and throat. This procedure may be repeated.
A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and an oxygen saturation monitor on your finger (which works like a clothespin). Your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation will be monitored and recorded every three to five minutes.
The cardiologist will perform the test. He will explain the procedure to you, ask if you have any questions. You will need to sign the consent form. The physician will then order a mild sedative. This will allow you to relax and feel somewhat sleepy. The physician will then place the scope, which takes pictures of your heart, in your mouth and down your throat. As this is being done the physician will ask you to swallow a few times until the scope is positioned properly to view your heart.
The physician will then take pictures of your heart and record them. Your blood pressure, heart rhythm, and oxygen saturation will be monitored very closely. When the physician is finished taking pictures of your heart he will remove the scope from your throat. You will probably have to cough when he does this. There may be some mucus build up in your throat. Your vital signs will continue to be monitored until you are fully awake and your vital signs are stable.
You will be given a sheet with follow-up instructions. Most importantly, do not drink anything 1 to 1 1/2-hours after the test, then start with plain water and progress to clear fluids as your throat numbness wears off.
Your comfort during this procedure is very important to everyone at Community Howard Regional Health System. Please let the technician know if there is something that can be done to make you more comfortable during this procedure.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask the doctor or your nurse, they will be glad to help you in any way they can. We are dedicated to making your experience a pleasant one.
For more information, please call us at 765-453-8333. Our department is located downstairs in the northwest corner of the hospital.